The extra work has even caused returning forward Payton Dastrup to shave 40 pounds off his frame. The sophomore who returned from a mission to Panama just over a year ago will enter the season listed at 250 pounds on his 6-foot, 10-inch frame.

But none of it matters, Dastrup was quick to add, if the Cougars can’t get back to the Big Dance next March.

“It’s our top priority,” he said. “I know there are some things we have to achieve before we get to that point. But coach told us we haven’t experienced a three-year drought since he’s been here, and that’s always in the back of our minds.

“It’s not just for us; it’s for coach. We want to make him proud, make Cougar nation proud, and give them something to be excited for.”

Photos

Sean Walker, KSL.com
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